The inaugural Conchtoberfest has come and gone, leaving behind a lot of fond memories, new friends, and eager anticipation for next year’s event. If you missed it, you missed a fun time filled with tasty food and drink, great entertainment, and a vendor village that offered something for everyone.

I’d like to personally thank the nice folks at Hawks Cay Resort. I got to know many of their key personnel a lot better during the planning stages for Conchtoberfest, and their upbeat attitudes and enthusiasm made all of our jobs easier. Sheldon, Wynn, Shay, Dan, Lenny, Jennifer, Chef Wolfgang, Justin, Fith, Tim, and so many others at the resort put in efforts above and beyond the call of duty in order to make this a success.

Thanks also go to everyone at the Chamber: Daniel, Leah, Arlette, and the organizers and volunteers without whom the event would not have happened. Thanks also to my fellow board members for their support and efforts.

Our sponsors, too numerous to mention here, provided a solid foundation on which to build an event like Conchtoberfest. Thanks also to our vendors for taking a chance on a first-time event and providing everything from great fish dip to what you need to catch the fish for the dip (and those one-pound brownies they kept selling right by the stage). Again, the team at Hawks Cay did a wonderful job of transforming a parking lot into Conchtoberfest Village in record time!

Taylor Carson and his band were a great headline act, and they kept the crowd very entertained, especially on their Saturday night extended set. Thanks to Bruce Sarafian for keeping all the balls (and clubs and flaming torches) in the air. Thanks also to Larry Roberts, The Stone Crabs, Jessica Lilly and Smokey Rhythm, Captain Silky’s Pirates, and my Storm Watch band mates Christian Davis and Glenn Faast (special thanks to Glenn for all his talent, time, and skills all weekend long).

The Marathon High School Culinary Academy outdid themselves with their incredibly tasty dishes. They were a part of the wonderful food choices available from a variety of booths and vendors. Nobody went hungry!

We can’t forget the four restaurants that hosted our Conchtoberfest Nights: Castaway, Lazy Days South, Sparky’s Landing, and Cabana Breezes. It was a great way to kick off the event, and I’m looking forward to next year already.

If you didn’t make it out to Conchtoberfest, there’s always next year. If you’re looking for something a bit sooner, might I suggest the upcoming Marathon Birthday Celebration on Saturday, November 20th? Last year’s 10th Birthday Celebration went so well, the City decided to make it an annual event so that we can all get together and celebrate… us!

There will be live entertainment all day and into the evening featuring many of Marathon’s finest, with special guests The Regs playing an inspired classic rock set beginning at 6:00 p.m. The City’s Fire & Rescue Department will be on hand with informative demonstrations, as well as many fun things for kids of all ages courtesy of the City’s Parks & Recreation Department. Stay tuned to this column for updates on the entertainment and activities schedule as they become available.

There will be vendors, food and drink, and a lot of fun and surprises as we gather to celebrate our history and our future. If you would like to have a booth at this event, there are still spaces available. Call Charlotte Quinn at 393-9501 to reserve your space.

As both Conchtoberfest and our Marathon Birthday Celebration events have shown us, sometimes all we need to do to help us realize how good things are is to throw ourselves a party! Conchtoberfest was great fun, and the Marathon Birthday Celebration will be just another noble excuse for us to come together as a community and have a good time!

Party on, Middle Keys!

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